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Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

2019 Fall and Winter Movie Guide



Fall and Winter Movie Guide – by Guy S. Malone, Researcher

After the cinematic dead zone of August, things jump-start in September with the monster--literal and figurative--that is It: Chapter Two.  The season builds momentum, peaking in mid-to-late November with a slew of Oscar contenders; more than most of us will have the time to see.  Between now and the new year more than 150 movies will be released; for your convenience, we have winnowed away two-thirds of them and provided you with thumbnail sketches of 50 films.  

The 50 films listed are not necessarily recommendations; in fact, there are some that FilmZ and I would not touch with a ten-foot battle lance--you can decide which ones they are.  Also, full disclosure: you will only find a few foreign films (as John Cleese would say, that's not our metier) and no documentaries.  What we feature are popular movies, promising genre flicks, and films with potential for major awards.  

Speaking of which, here is a group of films we believe will join already released fare, such as Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, The Farewell, Avengers: Endgame, and Booksmart in Oscar, Golden Glode, and other awards conversations in the new year.  These films are shown with release dates so you can refer to them in the thumbnail sketch section that follows:

AWARDS CONTENDERS
The Goldfinch (09/13)
Ad Astra (09/20)
Joker (10/04)
Pain and Glory (10/04)
Parasite (10/11)
JoJo Rabbit (10/18)
The Lighthouse (10/18)
Harriet (11/01)
Ford v Ferrari (11/15)
The Report (11/15)
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (11/22)
The Irishman (11/27)
Marriage Story (12/06)  
A Hidden Life (12/13)
1917 (12/25)
Little Women (12/25)


FALL AND WINTER MOVIE GUIDE

Key for the thumbnails:
Release Date,  Title  -- Genre(s)

Brief Synopsis, Cast, and at times Director & Screenwriter(s)

** Release dates are notoriously changeable

SEPTEMBER

05  It: Chapter Two – Horror
Follow-up to the 2017 blockbuster, 27 years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away ... until a devastating phone call brings them back.  Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa

13  The Goldfinch -- Drama 
John Crowley (Brooklyn) directs this adaptation of the bestseller about a boy (Finn Wolfhard) in New York who is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Ansel Elgort

20   Ad Astra -- SciFi SciFi Mystery  
Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) takes a dangerous mission to investigate what happened to his father's (Tommy Lee Jones) expedition of 30 years before, a voyage that imperils the universe. Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga. James Gray (The Immigrant, The Lost City of Z) directs.

19  Downton Abbey – Period Drama
The continuing saga of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.  Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Joann Froggatt, Rob James-Collier, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Tuppence Middleton

19  Rambo: Last Blood – Action 
Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) must face his violent past and revive his combat skills for one final (?) mission of vengeance. You know, like the other Rambos.  Paz Vega, Yvette Monreal, Louis Mandylor

27   Judy -- Biographical Drama
Legendary performer Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger) arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts. Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Finn Wittrock

OCTOBER

04   Dolemite Is My Name -- Comedy, Drama 
Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), a comedy and rap pioneer who overcomes the system to produce Dolemite, a wildly obscene 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon. Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chris Rock, Mike Epps

04  Joker -- Crime, Drama, Thriller
Joaquin Phoenix stars in the origin story of the iconic villain from Batman, but departing from formula it is untethered from that mythology, focusing rather on the making of a sociopathic killer.  The film drew raves at Venice.  Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Marc Maron

04   Lucy in the Sky -- Sci-Fi, Drama
Astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) has an otherworldly experience in space and starts to lose touch with reality upon her return to Earth.  Zazie Beetz, Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens, Ellen Burstyn, Nick Offerman.  Noah Hawley (TV's Fargo, Legion) directs, so expect surrealism galore.

04   Pain and Glory -- Drama  
Pedro Almodóvar's (Volver) portrait of a film director Salvador Mallo (Cannes Best Actor Antonio Banderas) reflects on his life as the roads he has taken have led him to defeat and destruction.  Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Nora Navas

11  The Addams Family -- Animated Comedy
Follows the Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) as they confront a sneaky reality-TV host (Allison Janney) while also preparing, along with Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), for their extended family to arrive for a family reunion.

11   Gemini Man -- Sci-Fi Action,
An over-the-hill hitman (Will Smith) faces off against a younger clone of himself.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Douglas Hodge.  This movie gets a mention only because Ang Lee directs.

11  Parasite -- Comedy, Thriller  
Bong Joon Ho took the Cannes Palme d'Or, for his story of the unemployed family of Ki-taek, who take an unnatural interest in the famously wealthy Park family until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.  Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Woo-sik Choi

18  Jojo Rabbit -- Comedy, Drama
Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, What We Do in the Shadows) adapted and directed the story of a boy (Roman Griffin Davis) in the Hitler Youth who is bulled and alienated, and when he finds out his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home, he develops an imaginary friend (Waititi) to help him cope.

18  The Laundromat (Netflix) - Current Events Drama
Widow Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep) investigates insurance fraud, leading to Panama City law partners (Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas) and the tip of an international financial scandal, involving some of the world's wealthiest people.  Sharon Stone, Matthias Scheonaerts, Jeffrey Wright, James Cromwell.  Steven Soderbergh directs

18  The Lighthouse -- Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Robert Eggers (The Witch) directed this story of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson) on a strange, isolated island off the coast of  New England island in the 1890s

18   Maleficent: Mistress of Evil -- Fantasy
In the followup to the 2014 hit, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) find their relationship strained by their complex family history and an impending marriage, while together they face new dangers and enemies.  Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Imelda Staunton, Leslie Manville, Juno Temple

18  Zombieland: Double Tap -- Horror, Comedy
Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), and Little Rock  (Abigail Breslin) Bonds are both strengthened and tested as they face evolved zombies and join up with fellow survivors.  Bill Murray, Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson

25  The Last Full Measure -- War Drama
William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr. is belatedly awarded military honors for his heroism, 34 years after his death.  Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irvine, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Whitford, Peter Fonda (in his last role)

NOVEMBER

01  Arctic Dogs -- Animated Adventure
Swifty (Jeremy Renner), an Arctic Fox and mailroom clerk of the Arctic Blast Delivery Service but dreams of one day becoming a Top Dog (the Arctic's star husky courier). James Franco, Michael Madsen, Alec Baldwin, Angelica Huston, John Cleese

01   Harriet  -- Biographical Drama, History 
Harriet Tubman's (Cynthia Ervo) escape from slavery and rise to become a true American hero, responsible for the freedom of hundreds of slaves and shaper of history and culture.  Joe Alwyn, Janelle Monáe, Tim Guinee.  Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou) directs

01   The King -- Historical Drama
Rebellious Prince Hal (Timothée Chalamet) is crowned King Henry V of England after his despotic father (Ben Mendelsohn) dies, and he must wend his way through politics, wage a war he inherited, and come to terms with his past.  Lily-Rose Depp, Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris

01  Motherless Brooklyn -- Crime Drama
Edward Norton adapted the screenplay, directed, and stars as a private eye afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, as he tries to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend (Bruce Willis), set in 1950s New York.  Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe, Alec Baldwin, Leslie Mann, Michael Kenneth Williams, Bobby Cannavale

01  Terminator: Dark Fate -- Sci-Fi Action
Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and a hybrid cyborg human (Mackenzie Davis) join forces to protect a young girl (Natalya Reyes) from a newly modified liquid Terminator (Gabriel Luna) and lurking film critics. Arnold Schwarzenegger

01  Waves -- Romantic Drama
Two young couples (Lucas Hedges, Alexa Demie; Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Taylor Russell) and the struggles of growing up and falling in love. Clifton Collins Jr., Sterling K. Brown

08   Doctor Sleep -- Horror 
Inspired by The Shining, this film follows an adult Dan Torrence (Ewan McGregor) who meets a young girl (Kyliegh Curran) possessed of "the shining" and tries to conceal her from a cult that preys on children with powers. Rebecca Ferguson, Bruce Greenwood, Jacob Tremblay, Cliff Curtis

08  Midway -- Historical War Action
Roland Emmerich (The Patriot, Independence Day) directed this story of the Battle of Midway, which turned the tide in the Pacific Theater during WWII.  Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, Luke Evans

12  Lady and the Tramp -- Animated Comedy
CGI and live-action re-imagining of the 1955 Disney classic. Lady (Tessa Thompson) and Tramp (Justin Theroux).  Other voices: Sam Elliott, Janelle Monae, Kiersey Clemons, Benedict Wong

12  Noelle -- Fantasy Comedy
Noelle Kringle (Anna Kendrick), Santa's daughter, has to take over the family business, with the dubious help of Nick (Bill Hader) and Gabriel (Billy Eichner) Kringle, and Elf Polly (Shirley MacLaine), with Julie Hagerty as Mrs. Claus.  

15  Charlie's Angels -- Action, Comedy 
Elizabeth Banks produced, co-wrote, directed, and co-stars (as Bosley) this reimagination, based on the 1970s TV series. A new generation of private detectives--Sabina (Kristen Stewart), Elena (Naomi Scott), Jane (Ella Balinska)-- working for the mysterious Charlie.  Sam Claflin, Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou

15   Ford v Ferrari -- Action, Biography, Drama
Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) and Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) hire car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) to develop a car and team to defeat Ferrari at LeMans in 1966.  He hires talented and ruthless driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale). Caitrona Balfe; James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Logan) directs

15  The Good Liar -- Drama
Con man Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) conspires to defraud wealthy widow Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren), but finds that it is important to avoid getting too close to one's mark as a simple crime turns into a tightrope. Jim Carter, Russell Tovey; frequent McKellen collaborator Bill Condon directs

15 The Report -- Drama
Daniel Jones (Adam Driver), an idealistic young staffer to Sen. Diane Feinstein (Annette Bening) is directed to lead an investigation into the CIA's post 9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program and discovers a systematic pattern of torture that defies the Geneva Convention. Jon Hamm, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, Ted Levine; Scott Z. Burns wrote (The Bourne Ultimatum) and directed.

22  21 Bridges -- Crime Action
A disgraced NYPD detective (Chadwick Boseman) shuts down Manhattan to hem in a cop-killer and uncovers massive police corruption. Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons, Taylor Kitsch; Brian Kirk (BBC's Luther) directs.

22 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood -- Biography, Drama | Post-production
Based on the real-life friendship between Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and journalist Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys).  Enrico Colantoni, Wendy Makkena  Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me) directs

22  Frozen II -- Animated Comedy
The further adventures of Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) as they travel to find the origin of Elsa's powers and save their kingdom.  Evan Rachel Wood, Sterling K. Brown

27   The Irishman (2019) -- Historical Crime Drama 
Martin Scorsese directs this musing about a hitman (Robert DeNiro) hired in a conspiracy among mobsters Angelo Bruno (Harvey Keitel), Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and others to kill Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).  Anna Paquin, Jack Huston, Jesse Plemons, Bobby Cannavale, 

27   Knives Out -- Comedy, Mystery 
A detective (Daniel Craig) and a policeman (LaKeith Stanfield) investigate the death of a patriarch (Christopher Plummer) of an eccentric, combative family: Chris Evans, Jamie Leigh Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Rian Johnson (the newer Star Wars films) wrote and directed


DECEMBER 

06   The Aeronauts -- Adventure, Biography
Balloonist Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) ascend to record-breaking heights to learn more about weather science and face a fight for survival in the thin atmosphere.  Himesh Patel, Anne Reid 

06  Marriage Story -- Romance, Comedy 
Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, The Squid and the Whale) wrote and directed this bittersweet musing about a married couple's (Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver) breakup. Mark O'Brien, Laura Dern

13  A Hidden Life -- Biography, Drama
The much too rarely-seen auteur Terrence Malick wrote and directed this story of Austrian Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl), a conscientious objector who refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II.  Valerie Pachner, Michael Nyqvist, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jürgen Prochnow, Bruno Ganz

13  Jumanji: The Next Level – Action, Comedy
The world's most dangerous game resumes as the friends (Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart) return and encounter new dangers.  Awkwafina, Colin Hanks, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover; Jake Kasdan (TV's Freaks and Geeks) wrote and directed.

20  Bombshell -- Biographical Drama
Female employees of Fox News stand up to boss Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network.  Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Elizabeth Röhm, Alice Eve; Jay Roach (Meet the Fockers, Trumbo, Game Change) directed

20  Cats –  Animated Musical Fantasy
Tom Hooper's (Les Misérables, The King's Speech) CGI-enhanced remake of the stage hit, based on T.S.Eliot's poetry collection. Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen

20  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Action. Fantasy
J.J. Abrams once again picks up the light-saber as the remaining ragtag band of Resisters face the First Order final (finally?) chapter of the Skywalker saga.  Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Greeson, Keri Russell, Billie Lourd, Richard E. Grant, Kelly Marie Tran, Lupita Nyong'o, John Boyega

20  The Two Popes -- Drama
In a confrontation of willful men, conservative Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) and reformist future Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) must put the Church ahead of their personal ideologies. Juan Minujín, Sidney Cole; Fernando Meirelles (City of God) directed.

25  1917 – War Drama
Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Road to Perdition) directed and co-wrote this story of two WWI  British soldiers (Richard Madden, George MacKay) who must venture deep behind enemy lines to deliver orders that will prevent their own men, including one messenger's brother, from entering a trap. Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Teresa Mahoney, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott


25  Little Women – Period Drama                                                                      
Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Frances Ha) treatment of the classic in which the four March sisters—Amy (Florence Pugh), Meg (Emma Watson),  Jo (Saoirse Ronan), and Beth (Eliza Scanlen)--come of age in New England during and after the Civil War.  Timothée Chalamet

25  Spies in Disguise -- Animation, Action
When the world's best spy (Will Smith) is turned into a pigeon, he must rely on his nerdy tech officer (Tom Holland) to save the world.  Karen Gillan, Ben Mendelsohn, Rachel Brosnahan, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, Masi Oka

25  Uncut Gems -- Comedy, Crime, Drama
Bennie and Josh Safdie (Good Time) directed and co-wrote this story of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a New York City jeweler to the wealthy, who falls into debt and danger when a couple absconds with his inventory.  Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, The Weeknd, Idina Menzel, LaKeith Stanfield

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